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NIGHTCLUBS

Italy set to reopen nightclubs in early July with Covid ‘green pass’

As Italy continues to ease its Covid-19 restrictions, the government on Tuesday revisited plans to press play on nightlife this summer.

Italy set to reopen nightclubs in early July with Covid 'green pass'
Photo: Long Truong on Unsplash

Nightclubs are the last venues to reopen under Italy’s roadmap for easing restrictions, but business owners have not been given a firm date so far.

In an interview with Italian broadcaster RTL 102.5 on Tuesday, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa shed some light on the matter, estimating that nightlife will be able to reopen “within the first ten days of July”.

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s digital ‘green pass’ used for and how do you get it?

“This week, we will indicate a date when discos will be able to return to their activities, because this sector is still the only one without a plan and I believe it is the duty of politics to give an answer to this too,” he said.

Echoing previous statements from ministers, Costa said the ‘green pass‘ health certificate “can also be applied to discos”.

As well as allowing travel within the EU, Italy’s health certificate or certificazione verde is a requirement for those wishing to attend weddings and larger events such as fairs or concerts.

The Italian government made the details of the digital pass available online last week when its official certificazione verde website went live at www.dgc.gov.it.

Reader question: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy’s ‘green pass’?

Photo: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

Although it seems likely, it’s not yet confirmed whether the ‘green pass’ will be required to enter nightclubs.

Industry experts have indicated that nightlife should restart within two weeks at most.

“We expect to be able to reopen on July 4th, because to go beyond that would be unsustainable. We expect common sense,” Maurizio Pasca, president the trade association of clubs with dance halls (SILB, sindacato italiano dei locali da ballo) told news agency Ansa.

“The government should not make us miss the first weekend in July, because our businesses are open at most twice a week,” he added.

“For the country, that date would not change anything, but for us it would. Also because people are already going dancing in dozens of places that, among other things, are open without a green pass. So let us reopen on July 4th and the Interior Ministry will keep a watchful eye on (rule) violations” stated Pasca.

As for the question of wearing masks, Italy is set to drop its mask-wearing rule for the outdoors from Monday in all regions classified as the lowest-risk ‘white zones’.

But what about indoor nightclubs?

So far, there hasn’t been confirmation on what the rules will be and opinions are divided on whether masks will be required at these venues or not.

Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia has looked to the microstate of San Marino as an example of the safe reopening of nightclubs.

The independent state returned to nightlife with a music festival, only allowing people to enter if they were vaccinated, showed a negative test result. or could prove they had recovered from Covid-19.

READ ALSO: How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

Garavaglia stated it’s “a courageous choice but one that shows how it is possible to organise public events in complete safety,” reported Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale.

“The success with the public also demonstrates the desire for a new start, characterising the beginning of the tourist season. A restart that the operators are making happen with their determination to end the dark chapter of the pandemic,” he added.

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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